Courses

  • GRS RN 682: History of Religion in Pre-Colonial Africa
    Study of the development of religious traditions in Africa during the period prior to European colonialism. An emphasis both on indigenous religions and on the African roots and the growth and spread of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in the continent as a whole. Also offered as GRS AA 882 and GRS HI 749.
  • GRS RN 684: The Holocaust
    Background of German (and European) anti-Semitism. Rise of Nazism and early oppression, initial Jewish reaction, mechanics of destruction, ghettos, camps, world response and nonresponse, literature of the Holocaust, and religious implications.
  • GRS RN 685: Representations of the Holocaust in Literature and Film
    Questions of representation in literature and film about the Holocaust, including testimonial and fictive works by Wiesel and Levi, Ozick, and others; films include documentaries and feature films. Discussions of the Holocaust as historical reality, metaphor, and generative force in literature.
  • GRS RN 687: Anthropology of Religion
    Myth, ritual, and religious experience across cultures. Special attention to the problem of religious symbolism and meaning, religious conversion and revitalization, contrasts between traditional and world religions, and the relation of religious knowledge to science, magic, and ideology. Also offered as GRS AN 784.
  • GRS RN 690: Archaeology in the Holy Land
    Graduate Prerequisites: graduate standing.
    In Israel, archaeology is part of current events. We study material remains from the Israelite to the Muslim conquests (c. 1200 BCE -- 640 CE) to learn how physical evidence is created and still plays a role in a larger historical drama. Also offered as GRS AR 742.
  • GRS RN 692: Religious History of Boston
    The Greater Boston area contains one of the richest historical legacies in the United States. This course examines distinctive aspects of that historical legacy, by focusing upon the religious history of Boston. Includes required visits to specific Boston area historical sites.
  • GRS RN 696: Philosophy of Religion
    Critical survey of the manner in which philosophers over the centuries have evaluated the truth and value claims of various religions. Focus on Hegel and the nineteenth-century emergence of "philosophy of religion" as a subdiscipline of philosophy and theology.
  • GRS RN 697: Topics in Philosophy and Religion
    Topic for Fall 2015: Faith and Doubt. Should we think of faith as the opposite of doubt, or is doubt a necessary component of faith? Questions like these are examined in texts drawn from multiple religious, philosophical, and literary traditions. Also offered as GRS PH 656.
  • GRS RN 710: Religion, Community, and Culture in Medieval Spain
    Interactions between Muslims, Christians, and Jews in medieval Europe's most religiously diverse region -- from the establishment of an Islamic al-Andalus in 711 CE to the final Christian "reconquest" of the peninsula and expulsion of the Jews in 1492 CE. Also offered as GRS HI 710.
  • GRS RN 712: Theology of Christian Mysticism
    A concentrated venture in philosophical theology. This lecture, reading, and discussion course centers on the thought, not the praxis, of selected major mystics in the Christian tradition. Overviews Greek philosophical backgrounds then moves to a close examination of Eckhart, Nicolas of Cusa, Boehme, and William Blake.
  • GRS RN 720: Maimonides
    A study of major aspects of the thought of Maimonides. Primary focus on the Guide of the Perplexed, with attention to its modern reception in works by Baruch Spinoza, Hermann Cohen, Leo Strauss, and others.
  • GRS RN 723: Core Texts and Motifs of World Religions: West
    Graduate Prerequisites: graduate standing.
    An intensive seminar in primary texts and key ideas of theology and religious philosophy as developed in representative world religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam. First course in a year-long sequence. Each semester may be taken independently. Also offered as STH TT 901.
  • GRS RN 724: Core Texts and Motifs of World Religions: East
    Graduate Prerequisites: graduate standing.
    An intensive seminar in primary texts and key ideas of theology and religious philosophy as developed in representative world religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism. Second course in a year-long sequence. Each semester may be taken independently. Also offered as STH TT 902.
  • GRS RN 725: Topics in South Asian Religion
    Specific aspects of South Asian religions within a historical or comparative/phenomenological framework. Topic for Fall 2014: Lived Islam. South Asian religions can be studied as textual traditions or as contextual ones. This seminar explores how Islam is lived on a daily basis by Muslims of the Indian Subcontinent. Emphasis on orthopraxy over orthodoxy.
  • GRS RN 727: Topics in American Religion
    Graduate Prerequisites: graduate standing.
    Topic for Fall 2015: Twentieth-Century American Religion. Exploration of twentieth-century American religion, with a focus on how liberal Protestants defined and practiced religion (as individual experience) and, in the process, fostered major shifts toward secularization, religious pluralism, and "spiritual but not religious."
  • GRS RN 730: Topics in East Asian Religion
    Graduate Prerequisites: graduate standing.
    Three topics are offered 2014/2015. Students may take one, two, or three for credit. Topic for Fall 2014: Buddhism, the State, and Politics in East Asia. Analyzes models of the ideal Buddhist ruler in China, Korea, and Japan and their behaviors both historically and in the present. Topics include state patronage and persecution of Buddhism as well as Buddhist rebellions and resistance to state control. Topics for Spring 2015. Section A1: Confucian Religious Ethics. Explores the ethical ideas that emerge from Confucianism's understanding of the human person in terms of his/her relationships rather than as an independent entity. Discussion topics include social roles, personal agency, and the cardinal virtue of ritual propriety. Section B1: Shamanism in East Asia. Approaches to shamanism in East Asia (China, Japan, Korea). Reading of original texts in translation and secondary scholarly studies. Topics include shamanism and state and local religion; myth and poetry; gender and mediumship; ancient and modern religion.
  • GRS RN 735: Women, Gender,and Islam
    Graduate Prerequisites: graduate standing.
    Investigates the way Muslim religious discourse, norms, and practices create and sustain gender and hierarchy in religious, social, and familial life. Looks at historical and contemporary challenges posed to these structures.
  • GRS RN 739: Jewish Bioethics
    Exploration of Jewish perspectives on life, death and dying, abortion, the new reproductive technologies, organ transplantation and genetic engineering. Examination of the impact of the Nazi doctors, racial hygiene, euthanasia, and genocide on contemporary bioethics.
  • GRS RN 752: Topics in Religious Thought
    Topics vary from year to year. Topic for Fall 2014: Happiness, East and West. What is happiness? How can we achieve a balanced, healthy, fulfilling life? Classical thinkers such as Aristotle, Plato, Chuang Tzu; Buddhist, Confucian, Epicurean, and Stoic paths; comparison with contemporary studies of happiness.
  • GRS RN 753: Topics in Religion and Sexuality
    Topic for Spring 2015: The Body and Sexuality in Classical Religious Texts. Treats foundational primary sources in translation on sex and the body in several world religions. Consideration of differences in sources: genre, gender, modern/classical. Traditions include Greek, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Daoist.